It was Wednesday, March 17, 2010 St. Patricks Day when a litter of Yellow Labs were born in nearby Callahan. Just two days later, at a charity function for Project SOS that I attended at the request of my friend Pam Mullarkey, I found myself shouting out the winning bid of $500.00 as two huge pictures of a pup resembling Marley appeared on the large screens at either end of the Marriott ballroom. I had unexpectedly purchased the pick of the litter!
Pam explained it would be 8 weeks before I could take possession of my prize, and actually that was perfect. I needed time to figure out how I would explain our good fortune to my husband Tom. Our dear 14 and 1/2 year old Bunker (dubbed the perfect dog) had passed away just a few weeks before. In a very weak moment I had made a life changing decision to bring this little pup into not only our home but our hearts.
Lindsay and Matt had discussed buying a dog. I suppose that is what a young couple in love does, sort of a trial run to see how they will handle actual babies. They can observe the nurturing skills of the other and access the pros and cons of this major commitment. I would have written a check in donation to Project SOS regardless. The way I looked at it was the kids got their puppy in the process even though they were not included in the decision. But, I knew Lindsay would be happy and I know Matt loves Lindsay, so if she is happy Matt will be happy.
I immediately reached for my cell phone and shot off a text to Lindsay with the news. Normally my text messages to the family seem to linger in the black beyond for many minutes, often hours before my phone signals a response. Not this time. Within seconds she had answered in total support of my decision and with many questions like, male or female and are you bringing it home?
The breeder told us we would be able to pick the puppy in just a few weeks. As soon as the pups could be separated from the Mother Mrs. Mullarkey would bring some to our house to decide. There were six pups to choose from, four yellow and two black, three females and three males.
Duffy, our 2 and 1/2 year old yellow lab, (purchased to push Bunker to live just a little bit longer) was suffering from a broken heart since his mentor and best friend had passed away. He had never been alone before, and stuck by my side each day convinced I would leave him too. Duffy had terrorized Bunker when he was a pup. He would nip at Bunker’s ears and climb on his back, all in play but very annoying for a 94 year old (in dog years) guy. Bunker would take it for a time then inevitably give him a growl and a nip that would send Duffy squealing under the table. Perhaps this would be the solution to mend Duffy’s broken heart.
Finally the day arrived when we would make the pick. Pam arrived with three puppies, one black male, two yellows, two males and one female. We played with them all and found it difficult to make a decision. Louis was tempted to buy one of the irresistable pups for Brooke. But, after a phone call to her Mom asking permission, he was jolted back to reality with an irrefutable “NO”. We continued to watch the pups interact and discussed the possibility of black or yellow, male or female. Finally a decision was made and the puppy was marked with a spot on the tail with a black permanent marker . Out came the camera and shots of the happy family were posted on Facebook announcing the new addition.
The baby had to be returned to his Mother for nurturing and weaning. He would be able to come home permanently in a few weeks. Great. This gave me time to explain to Tom we were going to be the puppy grandparents.
A grand-dog is a huge responsibility. When the parents of said puppy work, much like an actual baby, the grandparents are relied upon to care for the infant whilst the parents bring home the bacon. This involves potty training, I mean house training, making sure the puppy get frequent walks and watching to be sure he does not chew up any Kate Spades, Gucci bags, chairs or furniture in general.
Tom had been away at Duke for all of these weeks since the Project SOS fund raiser till now. The grandmother clock was ticking in the family room to the time he would return and I would be forced to confess what was about to happen to our peaceful home.
He actually took it quite well. I don’t know if it was because he had been away so long or was he genuinely happy to have a pal for Duffy? I know Tom really missed Bunker too. Plus, as a grandparent….you can always send them home with the parents. He seemed to tolerate the whole idea. GREAT!
The large dog crate appeared from the garage and was dusted off and set up in the family room. Dog toys and leashes began to appear. Even Duffy wondered what all the preparation was about. But, there was one important thing that had not been decided. What would they name this little yellow ball of fluff with feet that smelled like popcorn and that distinctive puppy breath? Well, after much investigation and discussion we all agreed any dog born on St. Patrick’s Day should have a fitting Irish name. Plus I believe Garrity also applies here. We all loved “Finn” and Finn Garrity it was!
Now Finn actually has a bit of Marley in him and Duffy is getting a taste of his own medicine. He is taking the nipping and the climbing on pretty well. Just a few weeks after Finn joined the happy family, and the rules had been clearly explained to him. ie. no getting on the couch, only eating once per day and no begging for people food, he showed that he was much like any other child…going to test us.
“Does she really see me? Will she make me get down? It is so comfy on this sofa with all these great pillows with fringe I can chew and relax on. Oh and Duffy is not allowed up here to bother me.”
Anyway, life has changed once again. The happy family is adjusting to the addition, even the grandparents. Finn is growing quickly and I hear he is wearing a black bow tie to the wedding in a few weeks.
Life is good being Finn Garrity!